Deep breath, ok here goes

tl1969October 4, 2012

I have been cruising through these discussions for months (ever since my Refrigerator/freezer stopped working this summer and I needed to figure out what brand to replace it with), and am in awe of your collective wisdom. After lurking I am now ready to share with all of you my design dilemma. I feel like I already know many of you, and know you will be honest with me. My goal for the remodel is to open up the kitchen to the solarium, so it has more of an open floor plan feel, and I want a mudroom. I have met with 4 different companies (KD, Architects, Builders) and they have orally presented to me what they would do with the space, but I have not gotten any real drawings, except from one architect. So, I have tried to re-create their presentations after the fact, by drawing everything out that I committed to memory. I admit the drawings are not stellar, but they will give you the gist of what they envision for the space. I am also going to share with you the original drawings that the builders gave us back in 2000 when we built the house. I am trying to make the new kitchen as functional as possible, for two cooks, and two kids, ages 5 and 10. We love to create dinners at home 4-5 nights a week and entertain a lot. We have two cats. I am having trouble posting multiple pictures so I may do them individually until I figure out how to do it. The drawing I have attached does not show the third bay of the garage, which is to the left of the garage and goes deeper, about 12 inches before the window in the breakfast area. If you look at BKitchenPlan (which I will post momentarily) you will see the garage and how he proposes to turn it into a mudroom. Thanks in advance. Tamara

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tl1969

Here is the first plan - from above

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 7:45AM
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tl1969

This is the second plan

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 7:48AM
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tl1969

This is the third plan

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 7:50AM
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tl1969

This is the 4th plan, it is my favorite so far, I just wish it included a bar area for pouring wine, etc. and making cocktails.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 7:53AM
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tl1969

This is the other half of the 4th plan, it includes the mudroom which would be in the back of the third garage, and a desk area where the current desk is located. They suggested putting a second island in the current breakfast area.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 7:55AM
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tl1969

This is the 5th, and final plan.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 7:56AM
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remodelfla

That seems more like a continent then an island. Ummm.... i have to study it in relation to the rest of the house but I feel like it's very broken up. First of all; I'd prefer the prep sink closer to the range. It seems the long counter on the left under the windows will have no function. I'd hate to waste all that counter space. I'm confused by the mudroom. Is there any entrance from the mudroom into the house or do you go back out the way you came? How wide is the aisle shown between the back of the island and the wall? Also between the end of the pantry/oven area and bar area? It's a start... and I"m sure a ton of people with drawing ability will chime in

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 7:59AM
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dilly_ny

Are you considering building an extension for the mudroom? Or will it be incorporated in your garage?

It seems like you are thinking of making your kitchen extend into the breakfast room? And you are eliminating the table? Or moving it into the solarium?

Can you explain how you would like the solarium vs. family room to function? As separate spaces with different purposes? You plan to eliminate the wall between the solarium and family room, but keep the wall between the family room and kitchen? I am just not sure exactly what you want to do. Can you post a picture of the floor plan as you would like it to be, without regard to where kitchen cabinetry and appliance will go?

If I understand your idea correctly, I think it makes sense to put your mudroom and working kitchen on the garage side and have your opening to solarium moved more to the right (towards family room) as opposed to the center of the space (opening is now in center of kitchen and breakfst room space?).

This part of the design plan was very difficult for me as well, but I think you have to design how you want the rooms to flow, function and which walls to open before you start to design a specific kitchen layout.

My design goal was to move my kitchen to the area behind my garage and build a covered porch that could be accessed from my living room and kitchen. This plan drove all my other design decisions. I think instead of trying to design the space and kitchen layout all in one step, you should step back and design the space the way you would like it to be and then GW will help you with layout of kitchen.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 9:12AM
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dilly_ny

If you placed the mudroom as shown in #5 above, would you close off the garage entrance next to the pantry?

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 9:17AM
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bmorepanic

What is north of the breakfast area and west of the solarium (has doors from both)?

I think your "I want" needs to be a bit longer. :) Pouring bar, undercounter wine refs, storage for a lotta wine glasses, big pantry, etc.

Just talking out loud a little bit about the mudroom ...

Mudrooms are used as transition spaces between the outside and the inside so that people who have been working or playing outside can de-dirt and strip off gear for drying. On a functional basis, you're looking for more of a walk through closet for storage? Just asking in case it SHOULD have an entrance from the outside or have a utility sink or a mop sink or storage for vacuum cleaner type stuff, place for cat boxes, cat door or stuff like that. Maybe think about how to dry stuff off (umbrellas, boots, shoes, coats or sweaters). Some kinds of sports gear doesn't fit well with the "locker" concept - particularly if y'all participate in different kinds of sports or across seasons.

My personal opinion is that if you want stuff corralled for people who are mainly coming from the garage, you need to make the only entrance from the garage go through the area. It likely would work better if there was a little space between the garage door and the house door to plop stuff down that is destined for the house while outerwear is stowed. But that does bring up thinking about how groceries get into the house and how many doors need to be opened.

Some people want a communications area there or a recharging area while others want that kind of stuff in the kitchen.

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Random Comments

The back stairs are a pita for layout.

The one with the 32" television off to the side, recessed in an alcove and at least 18 feet away from guest seating made me giggle.

Have you considered (deep breath) adding a little more foundation to the west side of the solarium and reframing its roof?

Or there's this idea sketch - which doesn't expand the house but does change that bloody staircase and move the original doorway to the family room a little. What I LIKE about it is the nice fat mudroom and that people will not be walking through the business end of the kitchen.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 11:06AM
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tl1969

Great questions. Let me start by explaining that I have a backyard that I love, and want to see it when I am in my kitchen. Currently, in my solarium, I have a Moroccan tiled rectangular table, and we eat all our meals there. I want to keep it in my new kitchen/sunroom. We don't eat in the breakfast area, rather, we have a sofa and coffee table there where everyone hangs out. I really love having the eating area be a lounge area, with sofa, where people sit and chill while we're making dinner, so I don't really like the idea of turning that space into a sink and cooktop L area. I also didn't like how big the kitchen would be, seemed like a long haul to get to the clean up sink if you are coming in from the dining room. I don't like that when I am in the kitchen the only time I see the sunroom windows is when I am at the sink. So, the load bearing wall between the solarium and kitchen seems like the thing to go. But, I also want the kitchen to have plenty of cabinet space for storing all our stuff. The mudroom will take up existing garage space, that is currently used to store stuff we never use. However, the front side of the garage will still be used to hold trash cans, recycling bins, bikes, lawn stuff. Yes, I would close off the entry next to the pantry if I had the mudroom in the back of the third garage as seen in #5, with an entrance into the breakfast area. Two entrances into the garage seems like overkill. The mudroom is more for dropping backpacks, coats and purses, plus a big coat closet, since there is not one currently on the first floor. Communications area would be nice but not vital. Don't feel the need for laundry or sink in the mudroom. Just don't want all the detritus of being at school or work left all over the kitchen as currently happens. To the left of the solarium and to the north of the breakfast area is a deck that leads to the backyard. I feel compelled to keep the wall between the family room and kitchen because I need that wall space for my art that you see in the family room. I want a designated area for people to pour drinks and get glasses for wine with refrigerator drawers to store soda, bottles of water, etc. I grew up with a nice bar area in the study and people would always congregate there when they arrived for dinners. I think it is lacking in my current first floor layout, the butlers pantry is a total joke (kind of like the current mudroom separating the garage from the kitchen). I have enclosed a picture of my backyard so you can see why I want to see it all year round :-)

I hope this answers your questions, but feel free to keep 'em coming. The stress of figuring this all out is keeping me up at night so I truly appreciate your unbiased opinions. I was compelled to post my plans after reading how you helped Sue with all her Lake House kitchen planning. I know that flow is really key and I am not sure how to make the kitchen beautiful but intelligent.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 1:19PM
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tl1969

Forgot to respond to bmorepanic, I don't want to change the back stairs, my budget is already tight and that seems like an unneccesary expense, as does bumping out the solarium to make it into a rectangle. I am happy with the current angles of the sunroom, I think it makes it more interesting architecturally since the house is so full of rooms that are rectangles.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 1:28PM
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tl1969

And here is the outdoor kitchen, which did not come out well in the backyard overview I just posted. For some reason, my outdoor kitchen was not nearly as complicated to build as this current design ;-)

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 1:39PM
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williamsem

I really like the last one you posted. What about taking that plan, eliminating the row of cabinets between the kitchen and breakfast ares, reconnect the upper sink island to the range run (shorten on the left if needed to get a nice access for the solarium), scoot the range down toward the dining room a smidge, and leave the island as is? You can put a bar area in the little nook created by the stairs.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 3:02PM
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colin3

I like the way #1 brings natural light into kitchen work spaces and eases movement of people from deck to kitchen and so forth.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 4:36PM
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tl1969

Thanks, Williamsem, for your feedback. I think you are proposing to lose the counter that goes behind the sofa, is that right? I worry that if I do that I won't have enough storage. But, I am happy to hear you like the layout and gave me an idea of where to place the "bar". I also did not like in this plan the placement of the tv in front of the window, as it faces east and the glare is really bad in the morning hours (why I didn't want the range to be there in another plan). So I would need to reconfigure the desk/sofa/tv in that area if I go with this plan.

I do find it interesting that both of you commented on the drawings done by professionals. I guess my drawings of proposals are REALLY not doing justice to the kitchen planners' visions. C'est la vie.

Colin3, I thought this plan was good and had great flow until I realized how little cabinet space there would be. I have a ton of stuff in my kitchen that I use and need to store.

I am really enjoying the feed back, so please keep it coming. Thank you.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 5:28PM
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williamsem

Hmmm, I assume that means you currently have a tv in there. Wasn't clear from the nice hanging out space comments, but I can see your problem. I would also assume the tv is currently by the stairs where I suggested putting the bar? With the entrance from the garage moving, that is now a walkway and is probably no longer a good spot for a tv, but would work for a bar. The only things that come to mind, and I am in no way in expert in anything related to design so I'm sure someone here can help more, is to either find a nice hutch or cool open room divider and put it in front of the bar to separate the room from the new walkway a little. Or maybe mount it somehow on a pole hanging from the ceiling between the breakfast/lounge room and the kitchen, off center toward the garage so people can watch and still visit since they are facing the kitchen?

And it was the cabinets behind the sofa I suggested eliminating, mostly to keep the openess you like. With the space open, you could make the island wide enough for a set of cabinets or drawers on the side facing away from the stove for lesser used items, so that could help. You could also keep a short run between the rooms to put the tv on, you could make it a double sided hutch! Back to back lower cabinets, back to back shelves, that could be very functional. Or if there isn't room, you can make drawers that open to the kitchen with false fronts on the lounge side with double sided shelving above.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 8:32PM
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tl1969

I don't actually have a tv in my kitchen or breakfast area at present, but thought it would be a good addition to the kitchen area. It isn't vital, though.

A desk area is, however, necessary!

Double sided hutches, who knew such things existed?

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 10:39PM
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tl1969

I don't actually have a tv in my kitchen or breakfast area at present, but thought it would be a good addition to the kitchen area. It isn't vital, though.

A desk area is, however, necessary!

Double sided hutches, who knew such things existed?

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 10:40PM
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williamsem

Do they exist? I was thinking separate bases back to back and separate shelves back to back, just thinking on the fly. Now I have to look, we may have invented something, though i'm sure someone has made them by now.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 10:44PM
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lavender_lass

Honestly, I think your space has so much potential...and none of these plans really do it justice.

I would suggest you post your current plan and ask everyone for ideas on how they would include the things you want/need in your space. Bmore, Buehl, Rhome, etc. will probably come up with something better, IMHO. Just my two cents :)

    Bookmark   October 6, 2012 at 7:40PM
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